SMALL STEPS gives us a brief insight into the mind of a depressive
Since starting another year at Cambridge, I’ve had an increase of feelings that have been bubbling away for four years now. These include: depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, body image issues, perfectionism, and agoraphobia.
Whilst I’ve realised these feelings aren’t going to disappear any time soon, I’ve decided to mark a new academic year by taking a different approach towards them. Every few days, I’m going to try and do something positive – and I’d like you, my readers, to challenge me every time I post to do something new.
The purpose of this is for me to write a realistic summary of what life is like as someone who really enjoys life, but who also struggles with mental health problems and wants to kill or harm themselves on occasion. Not only will I document the positive thing I’ve been challenged to do by you, but also the aftermath: the crying, the negative thoughts and the anxiety that follows it, if any.
I think a lot of people think that enjoying life and suffering from mental illness is an either/or situation, and hopefully this’ll help prove that you can be happy and also depressed.
So this is it – I’m going to start making time for myself. It’ll be exhausting, and a lot of things feel too much for me at the moment, so I’m going to start small. This week, I went along to see After Miss Julie on the suggestion of my friend, Daniel. This is my thought process while attending it:
Shit shit shit shit shit you look so fat. Sit down sit down SIT DOWN QUICKLY so they won’t see how fat and horrible you look.
For fuck’s sake, look at everyone who is successful and happy and cool with their friends, and look at you. When did you last do a play? When did you last go out partying?
Shit, someone’s talking about Kafka. I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT KAFKA.
I don’t know anything about philosophers either. I need to buy an introduction on Kant to impress people at dinner parties.
If I get invited to any dinner parties.
I can just throw dinner parties for people if not.
What if no-one comes to my dinner parties? A bit rude of them – I might have cooked salmon. Salmon is fucking expensive.
Oh god, that girl looks so cool and alternative. She has a nose ring and everything. I bet she’s a fresher and goes to Trinity and has her life completely sorted. I still sleep with a teddy bear and cry at the John Lewis Christmas adverts. FUCK.
This was the worst idea ever. I hate Daniel for suggesting this. Fuck you, Daniel.
Well, they’re ridiculously talented and I hate myself for not being as multitasking as them, but it was a great play. It was good to get out of college. So exhausted now, though. I really want some salmon.
I leave you with a song I like to listen to after I’ve had a good cry. It’s happy and upbeat, and I sprained my ankle last week dancing to it in my room after self-harming about my latest essay. Everyone still thinks I just fell off my bike, but there we go.
Suggestion for next time: someone has asked me to attend a life-drawing class, both to have a good time and also confront my own body issues. Game on.
Until next time,
Small Steps x
Small Steps’ future articles will be published at thisspace.org, a submissions based website dedicated to reducing stigma surrounding mental health. The second article is up now, and you can read here.